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tv   Political Capital With Al Hunt  Bloomberg  May 3, 2014 1:30pm-2:01pm EDT

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>> this week on political capital, anthony foxx on whether the highway trust fund will go bust. the april jobs report. janet yellen. the latest from ukraine. margaret carlson debates epa's big win. we begin the program with the u.s. transportation secretary anthony foxx. thank you for being with us. >> great to be here. >> the highway trust fund runs out of money soon.
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this summer. you are in constant conversations with congress. what are the odds it will not be resolved by august. >> we are working very hard with congress to get an answer before the highway trust fund becomes insolvent. in the event it becomes insolvent, we are working through contingency plans to work with states so we can do the best job we can. >> projects by july will be stalled. some contracts will be canceled. >> you say by july. early? >> the trust fund will become insolvent as early as august. but before then, many state d.o.t.'s will be making decisions. in the june and july time period.
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>> is there any chance? >> there has been a lot of consternation about this. we have had 27 band-aids put on transportation. continuing resolutions, extensions. the biggest issue is how you pay for it. the president put forward a framework, a bill out that says we can do this with tax reform. $150 billion. >> did you get any receptiveness from john boehner? schuster? >> camp introduced corporate tax reform. we think there is bipartisan interest. >> can you use some of the proposal to finance -- there is a lot of symmetry. but we have a lot of work to do. >> what are the stakes for the republican governors and business community? >> there's a lot at risk.
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a five-minute difference in the whole system for ups, for example, is $100 million. if they can get moving five minutes faster, they will save that. is it goes five minutes later, they will lose that. >> is the business community lobbying? >> there are a group of 10 or so businesses pushing congress to act. the u.s. chamber got involved working alongside labor to push for an answer. >> do you expect to ratchet that up? >> i believe they will as we get closer. this is a problem that has been languishing for several years. we have a way to fix it. >> what is there that is new in your transportation approach? >> one of the things that is new is growth. we are putting $90 billion over and above stabilizing the trust fund into the system. we are doing lots of things. we are implementing the first national freight policy.
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it will put more freight connections across the country. more efficiency both within the federal system to reduce the time it takes to get projects done. also encouraging local sponsors to do the same. >> what are the odds you'll get a bill passed by august? >> the chances are tough. 50-50 right now. i would say we have a tough challenge that has not been solved for a long time. there's a reason. we will keep pushing and work with congress to get an answer. >> what did you learn on the bus tour? >> the country is more optimistic than washington. people on the ground have to-do lists. projects they want to get done. projects happening around the country. the reality is while washington has shown them so much uncertainty, communities are still envisioning their future and connection to the 21st-century economy.
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>> the structure needs -- the infrastructure needs? >> they are huge. we talked about crumbling bridges. i saw one. concrete was falling and threatening auto traffic. places like in ohio and louisville where there are new bridges that we helped to do. we can see the return on investment. when we do not invest, we threaten the ability to move commerce and the quality of life for the american people. >> they were supposed to propose new rules for the shipment of oil. why didn't you? when will you do it? will it be like the canadian proposal? >> our promise was to submit new regulations, a comprehensive approach.
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we did that this week. we will continue working through the rulemaking process to get as expeditious a resolution as we can. >> how is what we are proposing different from what the canadians propose? >> we recognized what the canadians have talked about our our -- are tank cars. they have not implemented rulemaking or regulation yet. we have tank cars on our plate. there's also speed and emergency response. a bunch of things that you have to take into account to ensure oil production and movement is done safely. it's what we are proposing to do. >> you oversee highway safety. among many myriad duties.
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in that context, general motors has recalled 2.6 million vehicles for faulty ignition. they hid it from customers for a long time. does that reflect a flawed culture at gm? is the ceo changing that culture? >> the jury is out. we are investigating many parts of the situation. we are concerned about any type of situation that puts the traveling public at risk. as we learn more and develop more facts, we will become more public about our findings. it is always concerning when you see something like this happening. >> you were the mayor of charlotte, north carolina, before taking this job. since republicans took control of the state three years ago, they have moved it to the right. including clamping down on voting laws. are they turning, are republicans turning north carolina from a purple state into a reliably republican one? >> they are trying as hard as they can.
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the population growth and demographic changes happening across the country are also happening in north carolina. i think over time, north carolina will continue to show its progressive streak. it is just -- right now, they have a group in there that is gerrymandering districts and continuing to try to limit the electorate. >> any backlash against the voting changes they made? >> there have been a lot of activities that have raised the volume and attention of north carolina as a place with a history of progressivism. expanding the electorate. i think that is a challenge that will continue to be in front of people. they are not going to be quiet. >> anthony foxx, thank you for being with us. when we come back, the april jobs report and latest from ukraine. ♪
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>> welcome back. unemployment fell in april. for more on that and the latest from ukraine, rich miller and indira lakshmanan join me. let's start with you, rich. the unemployment rate fell. that is enough to make --
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>> it was a very good jobs report. the gains were widespread. retail, construction. healthcare. the big question is, what is the new trend? definitely some catch-up from the winter when people could not get work. >> the trend is great. there is also the gdp report. crummy. >> obamacare saved the day. if it wasn't for spending on medical services, we would have had a negative -- >> that will -- >> we would have had a negative print. >> some of that was bad weather. >> that is the silver lining, or behind the cloud. the bad weather. a lot of it was temporary. as the jobs report shows, the second quarter will be a rebound. >> that's what the fed thinks. what do you think janet yellen and company over there at the marble palace are thinking?
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>> they are pretty happy. they are puzzled at why the unemployment rate is going down so much. they have lowered their sights on how fast the economy needs to grow to bring the unemployment rate down. we used to talk about how the economy needs to grow three percent. now it seems if we grow at 2.5%, we still get unemployment reductions. >> you believe that there was some indication that discussions began on the exit strategy. tell us more. >> they have pumped so much money into the economy and pushed interest rates so low that when they finally decide to unwind, it will be a difficult path. -- task. even though we are talking about a year away, they are starting to try to figure out how we will manage this process. it will be hard. >> big headlines this week.
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china is going to overtake the u.s. as the biggest economy this year. is that real or hype? >> it is the fantasy of some economists at the world bank. they adjust the economy based on something called pershing -- purchasing power parity. they say that haircut costs two dollars in china. i'm sure it costs more for you. >> i do my own. >> they try to adjust for that. that makes the haircut in china worth more. it makes the economy of china look bigger. but we are still bigger than china based on exchange rates. >> china may be an economic challenge. russia is a more nasty foreign-policy challenge. it just seems to get tenser.
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>> we had russia calling for an emergency meeting. i think this will be little more than a mudslinging match. separatists who are pro-russian, shooting down two helicopters and killing ukrainian troops. we see the situation escalating. despite the escalation of sanctions, the situation on the ground seems to get worse. we do not see putin changing. >> let's talk about sanctions. why not tougher sections? why not go after the big banks? ratchet them up right now? >> the u.s. administration says if we throw all sanctions out immediately, we keep nothing in our pocket. we need to drip them out little by little. we need to warn putin and get him to pull back from the brink.
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show him the cost of going further. for the europeans, there is division within 28 economies. some like britain want to go whole hog. more, harder sanctions. others like germany and italy and others are not so sure. it will boomerang back on their economies. >> germany is the key. >> germany is one key. we have chancellor merkel meeting with barack obama. that is the number one topic on their agenda, along with nsa and tapping her phone. >> what did you say last year -- [laughter] >> exactly. he may know what she is thinking. >> let's talk about the effect on american economies. -- companies. is there any consideration to say, get out of russia? >> that's what's happening. they are the ones doing the outreach. i asked if companies are lobbying for less sanctions. the administration responded, we
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are going to them and asking them to cut their russian exposure. citibank cut their russian exposure nine percent. still $9 billion, but significant. the white house has been lobbying and getting success with major american companies and ceo's were supposed to go to an economic conference sponsored by putin. some are pulling out entirely or reducing their delegations. >> if he keeps escalating, is there any chance that america would take military action or at least aid the ukrainians with lethal arms? >> two separate questions. on taking military action ourselves, ukraine is not a member of nato. the u.s. and nato have made it clear they are not going to take military action unless a nato country is attacked. if a nato country is attacked, all bets are off.
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the baltic states, poland -- i don't think putin would be that stupid. as for military assistance, they are giving nonlethal assistance. i can see pressure from capitol hill where john mccain is calling for tougher sanctions, i can see pressure rising for some sort of military assistance. who knows if that is a good idea. we will see how that plays out. >> a tense situation. thank you very much, indira lakshmanan. when we come back, the white house releases its data report. plus a big decision by the supreme court. ♪
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>> welcome back. the white house released its big data report. for more on that, we welcome back one of our favorites just returned from paternity leave. -- maternity leave. lisa lair. how is the baby doing? >> she's doing great. >> terrific, so is mother. >> the obama administration. i don't know how great they are doing. they released the privacy report. >> there are a couple of things they could do through executive order. the big part of that plan, which would force companies to disclose data breaches like the one we had it target -- at target, has to go through
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congress. it has not gained a lot of traction. the issue overall has been getting more traction. americans are more concerned how the data is being used, not just by companies but by government. >> what reaction will obama get when he goes to san francisco? will google and facebook be happy? >> he is going to get an earful. folks in silicon valley are concerned about government regulating how they can use all the data. it will be interesting to see how the president and others react to the critiques. silicon valley could be a great source of wealth for them in the midterms. >> speaking of surveillance, angela merkel was in town. we eavesdropped on some of her conversations. how did she and obama hit it off? >> that will not be a major topic in these conversations.
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the point of these meetings is to show a united front against russia. the german prime minister has been a major figure in this. she speaks russian. she has phone calls with both president obama and biden are -- and vladimir putin. it is important to show russia they will take further steps if necessary. >> this weekend, in a washington event -- the washington correspondents association -- it is no longer about journalism. i remember, you you lectured george clooney. we even have a picture of that. what are you going to do for an encore? >> that is a tough one. unfortunately, he is taken. i'm not sure i'm going to be able to lecture him. it will depend who was there. i'll have to wait and see. >> that will be a saga. thank you, lisa lair. welcome back. let me turn to margaret. the decision to uphold the epa rule -- the rule which limited
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pollution, good or bad? >> it's excellent, and it vindicates the obama policy. we have had environmental disasters that are changing the public's mind on climate change and other things. this will allow rulemaking that will close some coal plants and force others to cut down their emissions. >> my guess is you do not quite agree. >> i do not. i think it is a bad decision for a couple of reasons. it threatens our ability to be energy independent by having an all of the above strategy. it widens the power of the epa, which worries me. it allows the administration to use the clean air act to regulate carbon, which has been a concern for those of us worried about overreach. >> there was a poll out this week. i think the wall street journal.
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it said 47% of americans, a strong plurality, said the u.s. should dial back its activities in foreign affairs. they should be less involved. that is what voters are saying across america. do you agree? >> i do not. i think is an opportunity for republicans who believe in a robust u.s. presence abroad like marco rubio to make the case. why the u.s. has to stay involved. why reversing course would be a disaster. >> is there a case to be made? >> prior republicans have a ruined foreign policy for years to come. people remember george bush and dick cheney. the wars that have accomplished little and lost many men and women and a lot of treasure. the public sees it for what it is. you still have hawks and neocons urging obama to do so much more
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around the world. when they don't have to face the consequences of new military adventures. >> is there a fault line where you think america should intervene militarily? put boots on the ground? >> i think it has always been a question of when american national interests are at stake. in those cases, it should always be an option. >> i would say what john mccain and others are urging, we should not do. not more in ukraine. tough sanctions is the best way to go. syria was handled clumsily, but do we want to go to another country which we can't control, replacing a horrible dictator with a democracy? >> margaret carlson and lanhee chen, thank you. thank you for watching. we will see you again next week.
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